Independent Living Fund to be re-examined by ministers

Disabled woman in office The closure ruling was successfully challenged this week in the appeal court

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The government will not be seeking leave to appeal after its decision to abolish the Independent Living Fund (ILF) was overturned in a court ruling.

The £320m ILF currently provides support enabling nearly 19,000 severely disabled people in the UK to live independent lives in the community.

The High Court ruled in April that the closure decision was lawful, but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The ILF will continue for now with ministers set to reconsider its future.

The fund provides a ring-fenced budget for the independent living needs of severely disabled people.

'Fight back'

Last year the government decided to close it and devolve the funding to local authorities.

That meant the money would no longer be ring-fenced, would be subject to normal budget cuts, and many disabled people feared that they would lose it.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal quashed that decision, because it found that the government had not given proper consideration to issues raised by the Equality Act, which included the need to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people, and to encourage them to take part in a public life.

The government said it would not appeal, but, in light of guidance provided by the Court of Appeal, ministers would be invited to make a new decision on its future based on further advice.

BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said the announcement meant that, for the time being, the fund remains intact and in business.

Campaigners are now urging the government to secure the fund's long-term future, he added.

A statement from anti-austerity group Disabled People Against Cuts, whose members took the case to court, said: "We all owe a great debt of gratitude to the five ILF users that took this to the courts and the solicitors and barristers who worked tirelessly.

"It has proved that disabled people can and will fight back. It has proved that disabled people can win."

The Department for Work and Pensions said: "This government is absolutely committed to supporting disabled people and we continue to spend around £50bn a year on disabled people and their services."

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Conservative conference

  1.  
    10:11: Newspaper round-up The Guardian

    Theresa May's speech is described as "both highly accomplished and highly disturbing", saying that for a Conservative home secretary to open by issuing a "frank challenge" to the police "felt like a kind of cultural revolution". She now proposes, however, a range of powers which "in classic abuse-of-civil liberty mode, could be misused", not least the so-called "snoopers' charter" which was "rightly blocked by the Liberal Democrats two years ago".

    Looking forward to David Cameron's speech today, Denis Campbell, the paper's health correspondent, notes that Labour has been outflanked by the Conservative leader on NHS spending, and says that unless Ed Miliband "outbids the Tories yet again he risks being accused of not matching his fine words about saving the NHS with the cash needed".

     
  2.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 10:08: Get involved

    Adam Rees: Labour keep banging on about the Tories privatising the NHS. I've been hearing it for as long as I remember. It's still free at the point of use. There are some NHS services provided by private companies for sure but who introduced it for the very first time? Labour!

     
  3.  
    @Andrew_ComRes 10:07: Andrew Hawkins, ComRes Chairman

    tweets: ComRes/ITV News poll helps explain Tory struggles - immigration & NHS are 2 of top 3 voter concerns but rate as worst policies

     
  4.  
    @iainmartin1 10:06: Iain Martin, Journalist

    tweets: And so far all the defections to UKIP have been men. Serious diversity problem. May require quotas.

     
  5.  
    10:00: Air strikes

    As Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon prepare to address the conference a little later, the Ministry of Defence has announced that RAF jets fired four missiles at Islamic State (IS) vehicles in Iraq overnight. The MoD says the strikes - aimed at an armed pick-up truck and a transport vehicle west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad - were "successful". Parliament approved UK military action against IS in Iraq last Friday.

     
  6.  
    09:59: Newspaper round-up The Daily Mail

    Quentin Letts, at the Daily Mail, sketches yesterday's "duel of two would-be leaders". Theresa May, "fervid and Thatcherish", gave the "speech that deserves to be remembered". The home secretary attacked Islamist extremism from a "defiantly centrist position", quoting the Koran and opening with a condemnation of racial bias in the exercise of police stop-and-search powers, perhaps seeing that "there are votes in centrism", he adds. Boris Johnson, meanwhile, was "full of jokes", entertaining the Tory faithful but "the closing passages of the speech - the serious bits - sagged".

     
  7.  
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    Douglas Carswell
     
  8.  
    @Freeman_George 09:50: George Freeman, Conservative MP

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    09:45: BBC website reader responds to MP's tweet

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  10.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 09:45: Get involved

    Bob, Cambridge: It never ceases to amaze me when the general election is close by how the Tories send out sweeteners to get voters to stay. No chance Mr Cameron we all know what your party is about and always has been and that is to persecute the poor for the mistakes of the rich.

     
  11.  
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    Henry Francis Naudi in London: Whatever the main political parties may say about the NHS and their determination to improve it, the fact of the matter is that the main reasons for a 'distressed' NHS are (1) massive wastage in bureaucracy and admin; and (2) leeching of the NHS by people who are either not entitled to it for free or who manage to get round it by not paying their dues.

     
  12.  
    09:36: Joe Shute, for The Telegraph

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    09:30: What channel? Dave, maybe?

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  14.  
    @_James_Lyons_ 09:26: James Lyons, Daily Mirror Deputy Political Editor

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  15.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 09:25: Get involved

    Colin in Gloucestershire: If we really want to keep the health service as it is people MUST take responsibility for themselves. Smoking and use of other drugs maybe your 'god given' right but it should not be the responsibility of the rest of the community to pay for the consequences. Even if Cameron can deliver on this promise, which will only come about by painful cuts elsewhere, that will only delay the day that society will no longer be willing to support people unwilling to take responsibility for themselves.

     
  16.  
    @BBCNormanS 09:23: Norman Smith, BBC

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  17.  
    09:18: Coming up at conference

    So, what else is happening at conference today? Business kicks off at the usual start of 10:30 BST - and will focus on international development, defence and foreign affairs. There'll be speeches from the secretaries of states for each respective government department - Justine Greening, Michael Fallon and Philip Hammond.

     
  18.  
    Tweet: @BBCPolitics 09:17: Get involved

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  19.  
    @andyburnhammp 09:16: Andy Burnham, Labour MP

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  20.  
    @matthancockmp 09:16: Matt Hancock, Conservative MP

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  21.  
    09:15: Defence announcements

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  22.  
    @Nigel_Farage 09:14: Nigel Farage, @UKIP Leader

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  23.  
    09:13: Prop developer

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  24.  
    09:12: Tory donor joins UKIP

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  25.  
    @Mike_Fabricant 09:10: Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP

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  26.  
    09:08: Happy talk?

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  27.  
    09:06: Where is he?

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  28.  
    09:05: More on the NHS

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  29.  
    09:03: Midnight oil

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  30.  
    09:02: NHS spending pledge

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  31.  
    09:00: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. The day will culminate in the highlight of any party conference: the leader's speech. David Cameron will address party activists at 11.15 BST, in what will be his final conference speech before the general election.

     

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